Colombian player confirms death threats after missed penalty

July 1, 2019

BOGOTÁ, Colombia (AP) — Another elimination for Colombia, a new wave of death threats against a player.

Twenty-five years after the murder of a player whose own-goal led to Colombia's elimination at a World Cup, the nation is seeing threats against a player who missed a decisive penalty kick in the Copa América.

Defender William Tesillo said on Monday he and his family have received death threats because of his miss in a quarterfinal on Friday. The threats were made public by his wife on Sunday.

"They've written me and my wife (on social media)," he told the daily El País.

Tesillo's wife, Daniela Mejía, said on Instagram some of the threats alluded to former Colombia defender Andrés Escobar, who was murdered days after he scored an own-goal in the 1994 World Cup.

There had been other cases of threats against players since then.

After the 2018 World Cup, midfielder Carlos Sánchez was threatened after being sent off only three minutes into Colombia's 2-1 loss to Japan in Russia.

This year, one of the owners of Colombian club América de Cali had to leave town because of death threats made against him following the team's elimination in a local competition.

Tesillo missed Colombia's fifth penalty in the team's 5-4 loss in the shootout against Chile on Friday, leading to the team's elimination from the Copa.

Tesillo had been one of the most effective penalty takers in practice, but the 26-year-old León player sent his shot wide of the net in the shootout.

Mejía said she "could spend all morning publishing the threats" against her husband and her family.

The threats were made known to local authorities, who said they were working to try to identify those behind them.

Tesillo's father said his son took the initiative to take the decisive penalty because nobody else wanted to do it.

"I was convinced he would score," the player's father, who is also called William Tesillo, told Caracol Radio. "We can only pray after seeing these threats against us. You have to realize that this is football and you can win or lose."

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